Barry Manilow's 10 best songs ever, ranked

5 June 2023, 17:05

Barry Manilow
Barry Manilow. Picture: Getty

By Tom Eames

Barry Manilow is one of the most popular singer-songwriters of his generation.

Still touring into his 70s, Barry Manilow has written some of pop's most catchy and heartfelt songs. Here are our favourites:

  1. Somewhere in the Night

    Somewhere In the Night

    Singer Helen Reddy first recorded this song in 1975, giving her a top 20 hit.

    As he had already tasted success with songs by songwriters Richard Kerr and Will Jennings, he followed suit with this and gave him another top 10 hit in the States.

  2. Ships

    Barry Manilow - Ships (from Live on Broadway)

    British singer Ian Hunter first recorded this song about his relationship with his father.

    Later the same year, Barry recorded a cover version for his next album One Voice. Barry selected this song as his father had been absent from his life since the age of two.

    Following a concert 30 years later in 1975, Barry was changing clothes in his dressing room when an unknown man entered his room, telling him: "I'm your father. I enjoyed the concert and would like to see you again." He then left.

  3. I Write the Songs

    Barry Manilow I write the songs

    Ironically written by Bruce Johnston, this was a number hit for Barry in the US in 1976.

    The songwriter Johnston said that the “I,” in the song is actually “God.” Barry was worried before recording it, that people would think he was on some kind of ego trip.

  4. Weekend in New England

    Weekend in New England

    Randy Edleman wrote this song, with Barry releasing it in 1976.

    A song about forbidden love, it was never released in the UK but reached number 10 in the States.

  5. I Made it Through the Rain

    I Made It Through the Rain

    This was from his 1980 album Barry, giving him another US top 10 hit that year.

    The song was originally recorded in 1979 by co-writer Gerard Kenny who wrote it with Drey Shepperd about a struggling musician who never gives up.

  6. Can't Smile Without You

    Barry Manilow - Can't Smile Without You - Live

    The Carpenters first released this classic pop tune in 1977, but they didn't score the biggest hit with it.

    A year later, Barry released the most famous version with slightly different lyrics, reaching number three in the US.

  7. Looks Like We Made It

    Looks Like We Made It

    This gave Barry another number-one success in America in 1977.

    The song is about lost love and how it can lead to the success of new relationships. We've all been there.

  8. Could It Be Magic

    Barry Manilow - Could It Be Magic (Live 1975) (Frederic Chopin Cover)

    This piano ballad was released by Barry Manilow in 1971, and it was based on chord progressions of Frédéric Chopin’s ‘Prelude in C Minor, Opus 28, Number 20’.

    Take That released a cover over two decades later, based on the Donna Summer and Giorgio Moroder upbeat dance version in 1976. With Robbie Williams on lead vocals, it was one of the band’s first hit singles.

    Robbie and Gary Barlow later performed the song with Barry at a charity concert in 2013.

  9. Copacabana

    Barry Manilow - Copacabana - 1978.

    Sure, it's a tad cheesy, but can you help but sing along to this 1978 single?

    From Barry's fifth album, this song tells the story of a young couple who worked in the nightclub scene. Its upbeat melody actually hides quite a dark story if you listen to the lyrics!

  10. Mandy

    Barry Manilow - Mandy • TopPop

    This song was originally called 'Brandy', but due to the hit song called 'Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl)' by Looking Glass, Barry didn’t want there to be any confusion.

    Westlife later scored their own number hit with a cover version in 2003.